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Thinking Out Loud

Ali

by Michael Jinkins | Jun 07, 2016

Ali memorialThis week, we will see hundreds of tributes to Muhammad Ali. And in many cases, the tributes will include attempts by their authors to squeeze into the frame of a photo of "the Champ." "That's me," the author is saying, "waving my hands in the background when Muhammad stood beside Dr. King or lifted his arms in victory over an opponent."

It's natural. And we all want to do it, me included.

When we witness greatness, real greatness, we want to be identified with it. But maybe we ought simply to find a way, with our own voices and whatever gifts God has given us, to emulate it instead.

Today's blog is brief, because the camera should stay focused for this moment on Muhammad Ali and what we learned from him if we were paying attention. I will leave it to those who knew him well to tell us the stories we long to hear of this larger-than-life hero, this world-champion fighter for peace.

As a teacher, I just want to note one thing.

If Muhammad Ali taught us anything - and he taught us a very great deal - it was that every time a Black child succumbs to self-hatred and every heart of every person of every race does not break, the brutal lies of the bigot claim another day. With his swagger and braggadocio, this beautiful, powerful and devout man proved, first with his fists, and then with his own heart, that love begins in one's own skin, and hatred does not have to be the world's destiny.

Thank God for Muhammad Ali.

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